Meet 2009 Wesley Master of Divinity graduates and clergy couple YuJung and Dae Sung Park.
YuJung is originally from Seoul, South Korea and Dae Sung hails from Asan, South Korea.
Both are graduates of Methodist Theological University (Seoul, South Korea), where YuJung earned a B.A. in Christian Education and Dae Sung earned a B.Th. in Theology and an M.Th. in Church History.
Inspiration, encouragement, and the willingness to answer the call to ministry began the Parks’ journey to Wesley Theological Seminary. For YuJung, it was the desire for knowledge and a chance meeting that sparked her path to seminary. ”I came to the U.S. as a single person in 2003; initially, my desire was to learn English. After some time, I later had the opportunity to meet Rev. Dr. Kyunglim Shin Lee, Vice President for International Relations at Wesley. Her ministry and impact at Wesley as a Korean woman inspired me and urged me to choose Wesley for my theological studies.” shared YuJung.
Dae Sung’s inspiration came closer to home as his desire to pursue ministry was spurred by his spouse YuJung’s encouragement. “We were newlyweds, having just married in South Korea two months prior. I’d just relocated to the U.S. a semester prior when my wife YuJung encouraged me to consider seminary. My wife’s encouragement, along with the Rev. Dr. Kyunglim Shin Lee, inspired me to also choose Wesley for my theological studies.” remembered Dae Sung.
The Parks are now both ordained Elders in the Baltimore- Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. YuJung currently serves as lead pastor at both Stone Chapel UMC in New Windsor and Zion UMC in Westminster, MD. Dae Sung is appointed to Bethany Korean UMC in Ellicott City, MD.
YuJung’s ministry focus is primarily pastoral care and shepherding God’s people. Dae Sung’s church, Bethany Korean UMC, partners with a local nursing home to provide worship and counseling for seniors while also working with Milal Mission to assist those who are disabled. ”At Bethany Korean UMC, we have put our effort into reaching out into the community. We offer help to those who are Korean and are need transportation and translation. We also provide meals for the homeless in downtown Baltimore,” said Dae Sung.
Both YuJung and Dae Sung feel Wesley prepared them well for their current ministry. “Through the Community of Wesley, I learned American culture and diversity and received much support and love,’ said YuJung. “In addition, I was equipped in theology and practice in ministry through the PM&M (Practice, Mission & Ministry) program, which especially helped prepare me for ministry because I learned how to apply in ministry what I learned in the class.“
“When Bethany Korean UMC started seven years ago, I considered core values of ministry such as Gospel-Centered Worship, Gospel-Saturated Biblical Teaching, Gospel-Compelled Community, Gospel-Motivated Mission, Gospel-Driven Discipleship and Gospel-Empowered Service, all experienced and learned in my classes and life at Wesley,” said Dae Sung. There will always be an emotional attachment to Wesley for the couple. “I feel that Wesley is like my second home, “ said YuJung,” because I lived in Carroll (student apartments) and started my newlywed life at Wesley in 2005 with Dae Sung., and we had a baby while at Wesley in 2008.”
Something that inspires YuJung and Dae Sung Park:
“For my faith, I look to Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” said YuJung. This scripture inspires me and has comforted me throughout my stay within the U.S. (My) Being an immigrant and learning to navigate the language barrier/ not being a native speaker has been challenging. Learning to live and minister in the U.S. has also presented its challenges, but this scripture reminds me that God called me to ministry and that God is with me wherever I go.”
“In the Bible, Paul emphasizes faith in Romans 1:17, saying, “The righteous will live by faith.” James emphasizes works in James 2:26, stating, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” I believe that God’s sanctifying grace and human activity work together in the relationship of faith and good works,” said Dae Sung. “I believe that in order to become well-balanced, Christians and the Church alike, must put our effort into reaching out into the community and serving those in need. This scripture for me exemplifies faith and work in action.”.
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Join YuJung and Dae Sung and others who have found at Wesley a community and theological formation that will prepare them for effective future ministry.
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